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Gareth Bale gives Under-21s surprise pep talk ahead of Austria clash

26 Sep 2022 2 minute read
Gareth Bale applauds the fans after the UEFA Nations League Group A Match against Poland. Photo Mike Egerton PA Images
The U21s have been based alongside Robert Page’s senior team at their Vale of Glamorgan base this week, with the Football Association of Wales keen to foster greater alignment between the two set-ups.

The move allowed Bale to meet the next generation of Welsh players and speak about the identity and culture of the senior team.

“I had the opportunity to do a Q & A with Gareth leaning towards this angle of creating a well-cultured and a fantastic, positive and happy environment,” said new U21 boss Matty Jones, who is set to take charge for the first time since succeeding Paul Bodin.

“He made some wonderful statements, which we will use going forward in what our values are.

“Players quite clearly see there’s no ego and we all treat each other as family and brothers.

“As cheesy as it sounds, when we are in the trenches and things are hard we are supporting each other, and there’s been some wonderful examples already of that in the first week.

“I knew Gareth would be a powerful voice and he was. Being based alongside the first-team creates those opportunities, and it was a fantastic reconnection for a lot of players that we haven’t seen for some time.”


The Vienna friendly gives Jones’ side a first run-out ahead of qualifying for the U21 Euros in 2025, which begins next year.

“We are in a honeymoon period, I know that,” said Jones, the former Leeds and Leicester midfielder who won 13 Wales caps before injury cut short his career at the age of 23.

“But it’s been very positive. That was the main objective of this camp, as well as a clear vision of what we look to do in the long term.

“We want to make the transition from Under-21s to the seniors narrow and seamless for players.

“I’ve only had six or seven days to prepare for this game with the players. But I’m confident I’ve got my messages across and that it’s been well received.”

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